2 May 1999
Friday’s Moral Triumph
The “primitive” Friday demonstrates exceedingly good values superior to those of the “civilized” Crusoe. Friday’s honesty, loyalty, and natural innocence are unequaled by Crusoe’s deceptiveness, lack of trust in Friday, and pessimistic ideas. Early life in “civilization” gives Crusoe preconceptions that don’t allow for simple, natural thinking. Yet, Friday, raised as a “savage”, is given to simple childlike behavior. When compared with Crusoe, Friday triumphs with his good-natured morals.
Friday’s honesty is apparent, not only to the reader, but also to Crusoe. Crusoe’s own description of Friday is evidence of this, “I had a singular satisfaction in the fellow himself: his simple, unfeigned honesty appeared to me more and more every day”(148). Crusoe specifies Friday’s honesty as “simple” and “unfeigned”. It seems Crusoe would have expected a “savage” to be misleading, also a sign of his preconceptions. Again, when Crusoe is jealous of Friday at his expression of joy at the thought of his own country, Crusoe “found everything he said was so honest and so innocent, that I could find nothing to nourish my suspicion”(152). Crusoe’s jealousy stems from his “civilized” thinking, and Friday’s pure expression of truth comes from his “primitive” ways. Yet, when Friday surprises Crusoe with a simple and innocent question Crusoe “pretended not to hear him”(150). Crusoe is surprised and attempts to deceive Friday to forget the question. It seems Crusoe’s natural reaction in that situation is to lie. Friday has an honesty that Crusoe cannot compete with. In everything that Friday says and does, he relates only the truth because Friday does not know differently. Furthermore, part of this honesty comes from Friday’s deep loyalty to Crusoe.
Friday’s servitude to Crusoe is demonstrated immediately after his rescue when Friday put his head on the ground and put Crusoe’s foot on his head. From that point on, Friday is completely loyal to Crusoe. After a good while, Crusoe is even aware of this fact, “I daresay he would have sacrificed his life to save mine upon any occasion whatsoever”(147). Yet, Crusoe doesn’t trust Friday, “While my jealousy of him lasted, you may be sure I was every day pumping him, to see if he would discover any of the new thoughts which I suspected were in him”(152), he thinks Friday would leave and become a cannibal and Crusoe. Crusoe later realizes his mistake, “the honest, grateful creature?to my full satisfaction”(153). Next, Crusoe doesn’t trust Friday in the beginning and places him outside to sleep, “I had placed a kind of trap door?every night”(145). Crusoe again is blinded by his “civilized” thoughts and thinks Friday may attempt to kill and eat him. Eventually Crusoe knows better, “For never man had a more faithful, loving, sincere, servant than Friday was to me: without passions, sullenness, or designs, perfectly obliged and engaged; his very affections were tied to me, like those of a child to a father”(145). Crusoe describes Friday as the perfect servant, almost like a father to a son. Friday would give his life for Crusoe, yet Crusoe distrusts him. Only Crusoe’s “civilized” and therefore evil thoughts on humanity could cause him to distrust such an honest servant.
Crusoe spent time in “civilization” and thinks about things in an experienced, and rather pessimistic way. Friday, on the other hand, is innocent of society and hasn’t been taught anyway to think. Crusoe believes that man has a tendency to do evil, “the devil?cause us to run upon our destruction by our own choice”(150). He thinks anyone, especially a “savage” would be tempted by the devil. Yet when he tries to explain to Friday about the devil, Crusoe exposes Friday’s pure and natural innocence, “but there appeared nothing of this kind in the notion of an evil spirit, of his origin, his being, his nature, and above all, of his inclination to do evil, and to draw us in to do so too”(150). Friday is very pure and simple person. He boldly asks questions about God, “if God much stronger, much might as the wicked devil, why God no kill the devil, so make him no more do wicked”(150). Friday had “listened with great seriousness” and now had thought with his pure and simple mind, and baffled Crusoe “I scarce knew what to say to him”(150). All of Friday’s questions and thoughts on God are natural and simple, owing to his “primitive” upbringing. Friday surmounts and even shocks Crusoe in his honesty, loyalty, and innocence.
Friday manifests all of his qualities to a point beyond Crusoe, because Friday embraces these values with a “primitive” sense, not tainted by “civilization”. It seems that “civilization” is not what it should be, and a “savage” has more of the qualities that a “civilized” man should have. It brings up a question to society to look at itself, and see what it is producing in people: values or misconceptions?